Born in Nottingham, England. I joined the Royal Air Force in 1959 as a
wireless mechanic and graduated from training in 1961 as a Leading Aircraftsman.
Although not aircrew it was during this training that we were given the thrill
of "Flight Experience".
This came when we climbed aboard an Avro Anson**, a two-engine,
bomber-trainer. After take off we proceeded to terrorise Shropshire, and the
Wrekin in particular, for around three-quarters of an hour. Those ex-WW2 pilots
quite enjoyed strutting their stuff and I for one was hooked on flying.
While serving in Libya we were
allowed one trip home at the taxpayers' expense and the aircraft of the
time was the DeHavilland Comet 2, a four-engine jet transport. We departed RAF
El-Adem to RAF Luqa, Malta where we had to deliver spare parts for an
left Luqa and were over Elba Island, off the west coast of Italy, when the
cabin lights went out and an alarm bell started ringing. I was sitting in the
crew seats just behind the cockpit so had a grandstand view of events.
The AEO (Air Electronics Officer)
wandered into the cabin, removed a panel and started swapping fuses about. The
lights came on, the bell stopped ringing, and the AEO returned to the cockpit.
A few minutes passed and it all happened again. But this time the AEO was far
The panel hit the floor rather
faster and, although he quickly cancelled the alarm, the lights stayed out. He
muttered some obscure technical terms to the panel, which was unsuccessful, and
then he again disappeared into the cockpit. Immediately after that the aircraft
turned to port and the pilot announced that due to bad weather at RAF Lyneham
we were returning to Malta.
started our descent and began venting excess fuel. The pilot then deployed the
airbrakes, which are over the engines on the Comet. It was then that I was
treated to a sight I shall never forget ... fuel was swirling back over the
wings and into the jet engines! The higher the pilot raised the airbrakes, the
more fuel flowed back over the wings, into the engines.
When the AEO came out of the cockpit
I caught his attention and pointing to the window I asked him, "Excuse
Sir, is that normal?"; In twenty-three years of service I never saw an
officer move quicker than him. He said something along the lines of "Good
heavens" and those airbrakes were down before his backside had finished
passing through the cockpit door. He never did thank me but we did have
pleasant days in Malta while the aircraft was repaired.
My "flying career" both
in the armed forces and in the twenty years since, has taken me to over
countries and several times around the world in about twenty aircraft types.
I bought my first PC in 1998 and
FS98 came soon afterwards. I worked my way through all the flight tests up
Airline Pilot but couldn't complete that one due to graphics limitations on
PC! I swear that is the reason.
I moved on and began playing with
downloaded aircraft, eventually coming across The DC-3 and with it DC-3
Airways. I amassed all the variations of the DC-3 but the one I fly and
the most is the DC-3 Airways flagship complete with the now fully-sorted
Away from virtual life and back to
real life, I have been married for 36 years, and we have two daughters, both
now departed the nest. We also have one gorgeous dog, Harvey. We're not
sure what breed he is but somewhere between Yorkshire terrier and Collie
be about right.
Other hobbies and sporting
interests: - One time swimmer and reasonable water polo player, qualified
life saving instructor, and golf fanatic but somewhat restrained due to the
lack of good health in the past couple of years.
(Aircraft photos and the Avro Anson
poem inserted by CHW)
12 September 2001
Oh, the Crane may fly much faster
Inside she may be neat,
But to me the draughty Anson
Is very hard to beat.
Her plywood may be warping,
Her window glass may crack,
But when you start out in an Anson.
You know that you'll come back.